By Paul Smeaton and Camille Bianchi
Children in need are being let down because the inter-country adoption process for Queensland parents is so difficult, according to advocates.
The International Adoptive Parents of Queensland advocacy group describes the situation as critical.
“There are definitely children, ready to be adopted, who are dying because of red tape,” IAPQ president Tony Dunne said.
Stephen and Lisa Dibbs of Queensland describe the wait to bring their Ethipian son, Amenty, here, as a “bureaucratic nightmare”, despite already having adopted three Ethiopian children, including Amenty’s brother.
They battled for three years to get Amenty to Australia after being approached by the Queensland Government.
“Amenty could have easily died in the time. You’ve got a one in four chance of not making it to your 4th birthday in Ethiopia,” Mrs Dibbs said.
But as for many other parents, the pain involved during the exhaustive adoption process remains long after Amenty arrived.
“Our greatest challenge in our community is for when people become parents, to help them get over the thrashing they’ve got from the bureaucracy,” Mrs Dibbs said.
For the past seven years, Leasa Low has been struggling to adopt a child.
“We were approved to adopt in 2006 and we’ve been waiting since then,” Ms Low said.
Mrs Dibbs has appealed to authorities to speed up the adoption process.
“Please make children the main priority, and act in their best interest,” she said.